Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

Monthly Archives: October 2016

  • Petals, Buds, Blooms & Bouquets.

    I pride myself in being a super disciplined person… except when it comes to flowers… Once I step foot in the Los Angeles flower market, I lose all sense of what is enough.  My heart skips a beat on every turn, as my eyes fall in love at first sight, over and over… And I over indulge, over and over.  I justify why I have to buy just one more bunch of beauties.

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    Once back home, I continue to appreciate and get crazy joy from every petal, bud and bloom.  My favorite roses are David Austin, a little bit more expensive than others, but they last forever and have the best pink palette.

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    Hyacinths don't last too long, but their fragrance is unmatched.  Hydrangeas often steal the show, due to their size and how long they hold their beauty, transitioning from fresh to dried.

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    I was curious about a hot pink plastic pot and asked the hydrangea flower vendor why and how?  He then explained that he had worked out the perfect formula to create a pale pink, with tones of blue (as opposed to salmon), by adding a few drops of pink dye to the pot filled with white hydrangeas. The dye would travel up the steams, causing a lovely pink hue… good to know.

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    So if ever you find yourself at the flower market, and see me peeking over bundles of blooms… know that once again, I just couldn't control myself, but am sooooo happy with my beauties.

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  • My Love Of Rosabelle

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    There is truth behind "the heart loves what it loves"... and I have always loved Rosabelle.  Over the years I have designed florals of every shape, size and shade. From the palette of blues, pinks, green and earth tones...  Some come and go, some become signature, and some come back for a revival, which is the beauty of having a brand for 25 years... like the re-release of an old song.  Bringing back an oldie but goodie is new to some, and the return of a beloved friend to others.

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    There are many considerations when deciding to retire a print that has been around for a while... it’s always a balance to make room for new collections. But there is something about Rosabelle that is irreplaceable, and so once again, Rosabelle is back.  I've always loved a ditsy floral, but the size of this cluster of flowers is slightly larger than a classic ditsy.  It’s not too sweet, but still feminine.  The pink flower is dusty with a vintage feel… and the ivory linen is the perfect base for ruffling.

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    So for those that have never seen Rosabelle before, I hope you learn to love her as I do.  And for those who have a history with Rosabelle, I hope you enjoy seeing an old friend.

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  • So Long Soho

    Summer of 1989 saw the opening of my first Shabby Chic store in Santa Monica CA.  My vision and intent was to bring beautiful, comfortable & functional products into the world, with the emphasis on washable slipcovered furniture blended with vintage treasures.  I had no training in anything but I had a passion & a story I wanted to tell.

    My initial vision fit in perfectly into the California lifestyle. A mix of my English aesthetic and inspiration of the wide open inviting spaces of LA with its magical light.  Shabby Chic has been welcomed with open arms ever since.

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    By the time Autumn 1989 rolled around I had opened a store in Soho, NYC. Back then there were no computers, no Google, no other stores that carried slipcovered furniture and no knowledge of reclaimed furniture.  So it felt important to me to have a store on each coast.  Even though there were other NY considerations that effected how my aesthetics fit into NY life, the magic of the world of Shabby Chic struck a chord with the people in the big city.

    I have loved Shabby Chic having a home in the big city for over 25 years.  It has given me the opportunity for Shabby Chic to tell stories for the seasons, the slubby smokey linens and soft velvets have their moments along with our original signature white world.

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    I have priceless memories of how every Christmas, Jake, Lily & I would pilgrimage to the city for ice skating, hot chocolate and all the magic of the city.  We have the happiest memories of all being together in the store, amongst the twinkly chandeliers, fragrant candles, mushy cushions and Christmasy Enya music.

    Magic at it’s finest, and forever memories.

    However, as you may have heard, we are soon saying "so long to Soho.”  There are reasons why, but falling out of love with NYC is certainly not one of them.

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    My passion for design is stronger than ever and focusing on producing Rachel Ashwell & Shabby Chic treasures is where my heart and soul wants to be.  So as hard as it is to let go of this piece, once the NYC store closes in November, we will all have memories in technicolor of the journey shared.  And for all of you NYC based lovers of my worlds, please stay in touch as I have loved being in your world.

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    I hope to see you in my RA world, at stores in Santa Monica, San Francisco, Japan and shabbychic.com.  As well as my Simply Shabby Chic world at Target and new ventures in the works too.  Balancing business in a competitive market, without compromising quality and beauty is not easy, but love, gratitude and commitment to thoughtful hard work, will keep the world of shabby chic relative and strong.

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